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Shrimp Cocktail Veracruz-Style


This citrusy, shrimp appetizer was originally published in Saveur - Issue #12 and modified by Sue R. - August 2008

Shrimp with sauce may be served in a large bowl. For individual servings serve in Chinese ceramic spoons, appetizer bowls or small martini glasses.

The Salsa Verde is optional as the dish is perfect without it.

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  • For Shrimp:
  • 1 lb. small raw shrimp (50 – 55)
  • 2 Tbsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
  • Juice of 4 - 6 limes + lime halves
  • Sauce:
  • 2 plum tomatoes, peeled, cored & chopped (or 1 regular tomato)
  • 1/2 small white (or red) onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced, crosswise
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • 1-2 fresh jalapeño(s), sliced (seeded to lessen heat)
  • 4-6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice + more for serving
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro (or Italian or curly parsley) + more for serving
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste (approx. 1 tsp. salt, 3/4 tsp. pepper)
  • 1 avocado, peeled and sliced (or coarsely chopped, for individual servings)
  • Lime wedges & cilantro or parsley sprigs
  • Optional: diced cucumber; Tabasco or a vinegary Mexican bottled hot sauce (such as Tamazula, Valentina or Búfalo, the latter being on the sweet side)
  • Salsa Verde (to be served on the side):
  • 1/2 lb. fresh tomatillos
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
  • 4 fresh Serrano chiles, stemmed and chopped
  • Salt
  • 2 Tbsp. minced white onion
  • 2 Tbsp. roughly chopped fresh cilantro


Servings 4
Adapted from


Step 1

1. Add salt, peppercorns, lime juice and lime halves to 4 cups boiling water. Add shrimp, cover, lower heat and return to boil. Simmer just until opaque in center, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes (a minute or two longer for larger shrimp.) Drain and quickly place shrimp in ice water to stop cooking. Peel & devein; pat dry. (If using larger shrimp, cut in 1/2 or 1/3’s.)
2. Mix together tomatoes, onions, scallions, garlic, and jalapeño. Add shrimp and lightly toss.
3. Stir together oil, lime zest, lime & lemon juice, and cilantro or parsley; stir gently into shrimp; season to taste with salt and pepper. May be covered and chilled, to this point, overnight.
4. To serve, top with avocado, lightly sprinkle with lime juice and chopped cilantro or parsley (add a few drops of hot sauce for extra spice); garnish with lime wedges & cilantro or parsley sprigs.

Remove papery husks from tomatillos, rinse, and quarter. Place in a blender or food processor with garlic, chiles, a pinch of salt, and 1⁄3 cup water. Pulse until finely chopped.

Transfer to a bowl and stir in onions and cilantro. Season with salt.

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